Interstellar ices are suspected to be the birthplace of interstellar complex organic molecules (hereinafter iCOMs) in dense molecular clouds and solar-like star forming regions. The thesis aims at investigating the mechanisms involved in the evolution of the interstellar ices during the different steps of the solar-like star formation, from the early collapse of the cold (less 10 K) core to the formation of the planetary system. At each step of the star formation process, the ices covering the interstellar grains are processed (heated, compacted, crystallized, desorbed, re-accreted, amorphized). The objective of the thesis is to study the intimate relationship between the solar-like star formation process, the interstellar ices and its several frozen molecules.
During the first year, the student will carry laboratory experiments on interstellar ice analogues at Aix-Marseille University and Cergy University. The goal will be to quantify the amount of volatile molecules trapped into water ice and left as a refractory residue on bare grain surface, which are observed in cometary ices. The volatiles can be closed shell molecules, or radicals (open shell molecules), or the products of them.
During the next 18 months, the student will perform experiments on bulk and surface diffusion of molecules at the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (Garching), on world class state-of-the-art experimental facilities.
During the last 6 months, the student will be back at Aix-Marseille University and will implement the results of the experiments in the GRAINOBLE gas-grain code in collaboration with researchers from UGA-IPAG in Grenoble (France).
The thesis is part of the ACO network, whose ultimate goal is to reconstruct the early history of the Solar System by comparing presently forming solar-type planetary systems with its small bodies. The comparison will be based on the most advanced astrochemical knowledge, which will be developed by the interdisciplinary ACO team.